MEXT/JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Transformative
Research Areas (A) FY2021-2025

Project title: Human behavioral science for subjectification(“tojisha-ka”)
by interaction-based & rule-/story-based understanding of the brain & the world
Group leader: Kiyoto Kasai, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo



People with minority characteristics that do not match the world designed to be predictable for the majority have developed the knowledge that noticing the discrepancy between their own rules/stories and those of the world is the beginning of recovery. Learning from this, we consider rules and stories as follows. When humans interact with the world, if the same event is repeated many times, the brain internalizes it as a rule and uses it to predict the next situation, which is defined as rule-based process. On the other hand, story-based process is defined as the internalization of a single event in the world as an episode, a position, and its transition from a spatiotemporal beginning to the end point. If we define rule-/story-based processes in this way, it is possible that this two-dimensionality is the basic mode of recognizing and internalizing the environment and events by the brain in animals in general including humans. Furthermore, the cognitive process by which human beings find and internalize rules and stories in the world when they earnestly interact with the real world, which is difficult to predict and difficult to follow, is defined as “tojisha-ka”. We will elucidate the adolescent developmental process and mechanism of tojisha-ka through academic innovation that integrates the academician’s own tojisha-ka, co-production with user researchers with minority characteristics, and the integrative sciences.


Project overview


In this Research Area, we will elucidate the behavioral basis of the process of human becoming a “tojisha (participating subject; player-witness)”, based on the interactionality and two-dimentionality (rule-/story-based) of the relationships between individual brain and the world. Based on this concept, the Group A (A01-A03) investigates the interactionality of the brain-world loop using large-scale population sciences. On the other hand, the Group B (B01-B02) concerns the rule- and story-based understanding of the brain-world loop using cognitive and brain sciences.
[A01] This subgroup will construct a computational neuroscience model of the brain-world interaction loop using population neuroscience.
[A02] This subgroup will apply the neuroscience model to a large cohort of adolescents to demonstrate the process of adolescent development in which humans become tojisha and proactively commit to the world.
[A03] In this subgroup, the effects of age (era), generation, gender, and urbanicity on the dynamics of the brain-world loop will be further elucidated through the collaboration among psychiatry, sociology and medical anthropology.
[B01] This group will clarify the behavioral basis of the unmatching and rematching of the rules/stories of the brain-world loop under the process of tojisha-ka, and to develop a program to promote tojisha-ka.
[B02] This group will clarify the brain basis of how the individual brain internalizes the rules/stories of the world during the process of tojisha-ka.
[X00] This managing team will try to change the history of academia, in which academics have become observers by separating themselves from citizens and have conducted research that contributes to social design for the majority, regarding citizens as objects. Specifically, through the workshop for academics to study the tojisha-ka, the academics themselves will be transformed from non-tojisha to tojisha and we will work with user researchers to co-produce research from the stage of designing it.




Through this research area, we can expect that knowledge will be updated to resolve the majority-minority disparity in the modern world with accelerated brain-world interaction loop. We will also expect that the process by which humans become tojisha and proactively commit themselves to the world will be clarified and policies to reform educational and social structures could be proposed. True academic fusion is expected based on a research paradigm called interaction-informed human behavioral science (IIHBS) that can be agreed upon between the humanities and biological sciences. It is expected to spread to the academic world a concrete implementation method for the co-production of research and the transformation of academics themselves to tojisha.


Key Words


brain-world interaction, rule-based, story-based, tojisha-ka, adolescence, co-production of research